The black witch of salem is a French novel which was written by Maryse Conde and won the French grand prix for womens literature. It was translated into English in 1992 and the novel is a work of fiction which includes Tituba’s race. Titubas was born in Barbados to a young African slave woman who was raped by an English sailor.
Tituba`s mother is hanged after she refuses sexual advances from her white owner. Tutuba is run off the plantation and she becomes a maroon.
She grows up with an old spiritual herbalist and she learns from her traditional healing methods. She later falls in love and marries John Indian. The first section of the novel is all about Tituba`s childhood as in Barbados as a slave her voyage to the new England.
The second art of the novel visits Tituba`s adventure in massachutts which includes experiences like been accused to be a witch in Salem village. The last section of the story tells about Tituba`s return to a changed Barbados.
The main theme of the novel is violence of slavery and oppression of women by men.
Tituba is the main character and starts by narrating the circumstances of her birth and her early life. She explains on how her mother, Abena was raped on a slave ship which had carried her from Africa to Barbados. The English sailor realized that Abena was pregnant and he gave her to fellow slave Yao who treated her very nice and kind.
Abena was not free with Yao and she distanced herself from Yao because of the way she was conceived. They stayed together and develop a good understanding of each other as well as love and that love made Abena looks more beautiful. This love moved Abena`s owner to try and rape her but she defended herself with a cutlass which led to her execution because slaves were not supposed to strike their masters in addition to that, Tituba was cast out as a result.
Tituba took care of Betty Parris and Abigail William who were nine and eleven years respectively. She narrated to them voodoo stories from her home Barbados and also showed them white magic and unveiled fortune to them. The group of girls who were interested with voodoo and white magic the number grew bigger.
They were all amazed by the power of Tituba in that a woman could have so much power. During this time young girls could only stay at home and think about who will marry them in the future. They didn’t have anything for pastime leave along staying and helping themselves at home. These stories started having tantrums and a doctor was called to investigate what had happed to the girls and the doctor concluded that the girls had been bewitched by Tituba.
Tituba finds herself in a meeting with three magistrates gathered by Samuel Parris, Betsey, Anne and Abigail whom they denounce her as a witch. She was not a stranger to these acts. She proclaims her innocence but later she is sexually assaulted by Parris with other three men and beaten in an attempt to make her accept that she is a witch as well as to name other women in the village whom they used to practice the same together.
Parris like many other literate people would accept the reality of magic but he believed no one would perform magic without assistance from the devils. Those who had died and those practicing divination due to witchcraft could only mean one thing that the devil was the unseen instigator. The strange behavior and accusation did not spread to other victims after Tituba`s arrest. The confession of Tituba marked a new chapter in witch hunt in New England.
As her husband comforts her he remind her that the first task of a slave is to survive and that she should give Parris and his boy what they wanted. Later as Tituba and other two are transported to jail she makes peace with herself and denounces the women of the village. Tituba is imprisoned in Salem and she is frequently visited by apologetic Elizabeth Parris.
Elizabeth Parris sympathizes with her and she explains that she has understood the conspiracy affecting her and that it has affected many innocent women back in the village who are been tried because of rumours spread up by Abigail. Tituba also learns that his husband John has been possessed and he is upset to realize that he is now more prosperous than ever.
Tituba finds herself in chapter eight in Jewish house that they don’t speak English. She observes and narrates her misfortune with the centurions and the ill treatment she has experienced. She recalls the ritual of bringing the dead back to unite with the living. She manages to bring Cohen`s wife to him and eventually to their daughter who was the oldest. She explains how their emotional intimacy turned sexual and how she has longed for sex with masculine John Indian, nevertheless she now finds satisfaction with Cohen.
In the finals days before the attack in chapter fifteen, Iphigene and other rebels gather weapons and arms and distribute them to other slaves. It’s during this time that Tituba`s baby first moves for the first time and she is eager to meet her baby. That night before attacks, Iphigene bring home a rabbit and Tituba feels not okay consuming an animal that had not been asked for forgiveness before been killed.
This novel is about the theme of oppression. At first Tituiba is a child of rape. Her mother was a beautiful woman and this got her unwanted attention from her owner who attempts to rape her. She defends herself and the owner hung and killed her because she refused to be used like a sex object.
This is a clear indication of how been a woman during that time was hard because of how little respect they received from men. They were treated like they have no rights, like a piece of property that is supposed to do what the owners orders to do. At some point Tituba`s mother regretted that Tituba was not a boy because women`s fate was much painful than that of men during that time.
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